“When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.” (Matthew 27:19)
Pontius Pilate was the quintessential politician. He was a man pushed around by fear. First, he feared Caesar. While he may not have personally taken Jesus seriously, Pilate could not run the risk that Caesar would see this “country eccentric” differently; that is, as a real threat to his throne. Thus, Pilate could not do what his conscience dictated and his wife’s dream confirmed. Instead, he had to prove his loyalty to Caesar, even if it cost him a seared conscience and a “just man” His life.
Politics is a dirty business! Rare is the man or woman who engages in it without being soiled by it. Initial success in the modern-day political arena is practically impossible without the violation of one’s conscience, and continued success is had at an even higher cost—the swapping of one’s conscience for a political career.
How many modern-day politicians have turned their backs on principle in order to rise in the ranks of their political party? How many fail to represent their constituency, because they’re afraid not to toe their party line? And how many refuse to risk their political careers for the good of our country, but are ever-ready to risk the good of our country for their political careers?
Don’t fool yourself, politicians like Pontius Pilate are still a dime a dozen. There is no shortage of the “fear of Caesar” in our national or state capitals. Today, just like in Pilate’s day, most politicians are more than willing to appease Caesar at the expense of justice.
In 1971, a United States Senator explained his opposition to abortion in a letter to a constituent. In the letter, the senator wrote, “While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized—the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.” The senator went on to add, “I share the confidence of those who feel that America is working to care for its unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves. I also share the opinion of those who do not accept abortion as a response to our society’s problems…When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to…fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.” Who was this ardent champion of the pro-life cause? None other than the late Ted Kennedy, one of a host of politicians who have changed their political stripes from pro-life to pro-choice in order to further their own political fortunes.